Simple Shelf from Pallet/Scrap Wood

We’ve been in the process of transforming our home office (which never really materialized as a home office) into a home gym, hopefully the gym will be a lot more useful than the office.  After everything was cleared out of this very small room, we were left with only the modem and router remaining.


There was no way to relocate these devices, the cable for internet came in here and all of the network lines ran from a wall plate about a foot from the ground.  We didn’t have the floor space available to leave a small table in the room, so the next logical location became high on the wall.  I determined that about 5 and a half feet from the floor would give us plenty of space below for any exercise equipment that could end up in the room.  So in order to get these devices on the wall, I would need a shelf.

I needed the shelf to be at least 12 inches deep and a 24 inch width would be ideal.  I wasn’t interested in buying something that I could simply build, and the cost of the simplest shelf that would match this description would probably cost at least $25.  Even THIS incredibly basic shelf from the dreaded IKEA would cost at least $25 after shipping, and I could build something with a lot more character and it would better fit my needs.

So I scanned through the the scrap wood pile in the shop.  Pallet wood was the obvious choice, but I would need thicker material to support the brackets of the shelf.  I located a piece of 1″x8″ pine that I had left from the headboard project.  That’s probably all I would need.

I started with the pallet wood.  I grabbed a handful of pallet slats and looked for pieces that had the same thickness.  Since I had decided that the shelf length would be 24 inches, I looked for pallet pieces that had straight undamaged 24 inch length available.  I trimmed off the rough ends (nail holes) with a miter saw and cut enough slat pieces for the 12 inch deep shelf that I desired.  The slats laying side by side ended up being about 16 inches wide.

I ran each of the pallet slats through my table saw to trim off about a 1/4 inch from each edge.  This allowed the slats to butt up to each other smoothly, creating a shelf top that would be gap free.  Now the slats laying side by side measured 14 inches.

I then used the 1×8 pine board to create the side brackets, the rear mounting brace and the front decorative rail.

I cut a 45 degree angle on the two side brackets and cut the total length to 12 inches.  This length would allow the front decorative rail to attach to the front of the brackets and allow a 1 inch overhang of the shelf.  I attached the 4 pieces together with glue and nails, essentially creating a box.


From there I attached the pallet slats to the top of the shelf frame starting with the edge that would attach to the wall and moving toward the front.  The slats were glued and nailed.

At this point the build was complete.  I ran an orbital sander over the entire project with 80 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper.  Then I spray painted everything with some glossy black spray paint that I had available and lightly sanded the entire project again to give it a weathered/rustic look.

I also drilled three 1 inch holes near the rear of the shelf in order to run the network/cable/power cords through.  I should have drilled these holes prior to painting, but it turned out ok anyway.

top complete underneath complete

After the paint dried I determined where to mount the shelf to the wall.  I wanted it high enough on the wall to be out of the way, but not too high that I couldn’t access the devices.  I settled on about 5 and a half feet high and I located two wall studs with my stud finder.  I drove one screw into the wall through the rear support then leveled the shelf before driving the other screw, giving the shelf a solid anchor to the wall.

wall level

At this point the I sat the router and modem on the shelf and ran all of the cables through the holes.  The next step will be to create a tunnel of some kind along the wall to hide the wires that are running up to the shelf.  I may eventually add a second shelf connected to the bottom of the two brackets for additional storage space.

wall complete

Check out the video for more an overview.  Let me know if you have any questions.


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